By Walik Goshorn
I remember being on my way to Summer Jam in 2001 in a car filled with a bunch of friends and them going back and forth about Michael Jackson coming to Summer Jam. I was actually half asleep when this was all going on, but when I heard the talk about MJ I immediately woke up. Being a photographer — and also having never met Michael Jackson — I was sure the possibility of something like this happening would change my life forever.
The day rolled on and I spent the afternoon taking pictures onstage and backstage, trying my best to cover the entire show from as many different angles as possible. By the time Jay-Z hit the stage, the rumors about Michael making an appearance had escalated into Jay-Z bringing Michael out to the stage for part of his performance. In my mind I realize these can’t just be rumors anymore. This is Jay, and if Jay said it was going to happen, then it was going to happen.
At this point I was onstage, not entirely sure where to stand because I did’t know where he was going to come from, and I wanted to be sure I captured this moment. Just before Jay launched into “Izzo” (which happens to sample the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back”), he asked the crowd if they want to see Michael Jackson. Of course, Summer Jam wanted that.
So then Jay said, “Michael Jackson better come from behind that stage.” After a moment, MJ appeared from took his spot right next to Jay-Z. I jumped directly in front of the two of them and just started snapping as many photos as I could. The crowd went absolutely crazy. Jay introduced MJ to NY and then busted into his first single off The Blueprint. It was a moment in my life that will never be forgotten.